Another ?snow job? by the local media.
Am I the only one in Portland who finds Portland?s preoccupation with the weather carried to extremes at the sight of a snowflake? Our latest ?snowstorm? had all three major TV networks cancel all Sunday?s popular talk shows (Meet the Press, etc) so they could manufacture their trite coverage of the white lawns and roadsides around Portland. Their warnings of cataclysmic driving conditions led to the usual school closures, factory shut-downs, shopping stalled while stores struggle for survival, and general hibernation in front of the TV. Nothing is more profitable to local stations than having everyone staying home to watch their endless coverage of the big ?storm.? Even a fantasy ?storm?.
I grew up in Buffalo N.Y. where it took a foot of snow to close schools, and that only lasted a day. Snowplows, snow throwers, and sanding trucks get to work as soon as there is meaningful snow to remove and by the time it stops snowing all major streets and arterials are refilled with cars. No overzealous media coverage making news stories where none exist, people going about their normal routines, kids playing in the snow knowing school resumes tomorrow, and people arriving late to work, but arriving. Compare this to Portland where any snow that sticks is treated as a local disaster.
And where are the road crews when a little snow hits Oregon? To most of us coming from snowy parts of the country, this is the crux of the problem. Our government seems paralyzed to fight back against the slightest challenge from Mother Nature. For lack of a few sanding trucks we are treated by the media to watching helpless drivers (inexperienced in snow) slide to the curb, spin their tires at full speed (the worst response to lack of traction), and creating hazards by abandoning their vehicles.
If we consider the economic costs of companies closing down, of stores losing shoppers during their fight for survival, of parents missing work to care for kids at home, and damage claims from fender benders we have to ask ? Is this really necessary? Surely, the lost tax revenue could pay for a little well-placed sand from our nearby shores. And our highway department could contract local companies as backups to their own efforts. It?s about time our local governments take responsibility for keeping our roads drivable during minor weather setbacks. They can?t afford the lost tax revenue while we sit home watching another local TV ?snow job.?
posted 4 years, 5 months ago
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